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AMRITSAR –AKAL TAKHT


The Akal Takht, meaning throne of the timeless one, is one of five takhts (seats of power) of the Sikh religion. It is located in the Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple) complex in Amritsar, Panjab, about 290 miles (470 km) northwest of New Delhi. The Akal Takht was built by Guru Hargobind as a place of justice and consideration of temporal issues; the highest seat of earthly authority of the Khalsa (the collective body of the Sikhs) and the place of the Jathedar, the highest spokesman of the Sikh Nation. The current Jathedar of Akal Takht is Giani Gurbachan Singh.
Originally known as Akal Bunga, the building directly opposite the Harmandir Sahib was founded by sixth Sikh Guru, Guru Hargobind, as a symbol of political sovereignty and where spiritual and temporal concerns of the Sikh people could be addressed. Along with Baba Buddha and Bhai Gurdas, the sixth Sikh Guru built a 9 foot high concrete slab. When Guru Hargobind revealed the platform on 15 June 1606, he put on two swords: one indicated his spiritual authority (piri) and the other, his temporal authority (miri). In the 18th century, Ahmed Shah Abdali and Massa Rangar led a series of attacks on the Akal Takht and Harmandir Sahib. Hari Singh Nalwa, a general of Ranjit Singh, the maharaja, decorated the Akhal Takht with gold. On 4 June 1984, the Akal Takht was damaged when the Indian Army stormed Harmandir Sahib during Operation Blue Star.

The Five Takhts

'Takht' which literally means a throne or seat of authority is a result of historical growth of Sikhism. There are five Takhts. Two of the five Takhts are located outside Punjab and are Takht Sri Patna Sahib , Patna in Bihar, and Takht Sri Hazoor Sahib at Nanded in Maharashtra. The other three Takhts are in Punjab - Akal Takht in Amritsar, Sri Keshgarh Sahib in Anandpur and Sri Damdama Sahib at Talwandi Sabo Bhatinda district.
The first and the most important one was established by Guru Hargobind in 1609. It is called 'Akal Takht' (the Throne of the Timeless God) and is situated just opposite the gate of Harmandir Sahib - The Golden Temple, Amritsar. The Guru established it, because he thought that secular political matters should not be considered in the Golden Temple, which is meant purely for worship of God. Here the Guru held his court and decided matters of military strategy and political policy. Later on, the Sikh commonwealth (Sarbat Khalsa) took decisions here on matters of peace and war and settled disputes between the various Sikh groups.
The Sarangi singers sung the ballads of the Sikh Gurus and warriors at this place and robes of honour (saropas) were awarded to persons who rendered distinguished services of the community of men in general. The second seat of authority is called "Takht Sri Patna Sahib". The Five Takhts are the five gurudwaras and these have a very special significance for the Sikh community. Takht means a throne. They are considered the seats of Sikh religious authority. The important decisions concerning the religious and social life of the Sikh community have been taken here.

Sri Akal Takht Sahib

Akal Takht Sahib literally means Eternal Throne. It is also part of the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar. It's foundation was laid by Guru Hargobind Sahib . The Akal Takht is situated opposite to Harmandir Sahib and are connected by a passage. The building of the Akal Takht opposite the Golden Temple has a special meaning. While the Golden Temple stands for spiritual guidance the Akal Takht symbolizes the dispensing of justice and temporal activity. During the day the Guru Granth Sahib is kept in the Golden Temple, while at night it is kept in the Akal Takht Sahib. In earlier days all Sikh warriors sought blessings here before going to battle fields. During the 18th century while Sikhs were fighting a guerrilla war in the forests they used to gather at the Akal Takht on special occasions such as Baisakhi and Diwali. Here the community used to have general meetings and approve resolutions. The Akal Takht is the oldest of the Five Takhts.

Takht Sri Damdama Sahib

Takht Sri Damdama Sahib is situated in the village of Talwandi Sabo near Bhatinda. At this place Guru Gobind Singh stayed here for approximately a year and compiled the final edition of Guru Granth Sahib also known as the Damdama Sahib Bir in 1705.

Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib

Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib is situated at Anandpur Sahib. It is the birthplace of the Khalsa. The order of the Khalsa was founded here by Guru Gobind Singh in 1699. Some of the weapons of Guru Gobind Singh are displayed here.

Takht Sri Hazoor Sahib

Takht Sri Hazoor Sahib is situated on the banks of Godavari river in Maharashtra state. This is the place where Guru Gobind Singh left for Heavenly abode. The inner room of the temple is called Angitha Sahib and is built over the place where Guru Gobind Singh was cremated in 1708.

Takht Sri Patna Sahib

Takht Sri Patna Sahib is situated in Patna city which is also the capital of Bihar state. Guru Gobind Singh Ji was born here in 1666 and he spent his early childhood here before moving to Anandpur Sahib. Besides being the birthplace of Guru Gobind Singh , Patna was also visited by Guru Nanak and Guru Tegh Bahadur at different points of time.

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